The Deterioration of My Handwriting
I got a D in handwriting in the third grade.
I’m an old man now.
That failure continues to haunt me.
I saved all the letters from girls who said they loved me.
As I look back on them, I can tell the ones I liked
by the handwriting alone.
When that girl from Princeton Junction drew hearts to dot her “i”s
I lost interest immediately.
I also hated her large loopy cursive.
I cared little about scent, sealing wax, color or watermark.
Tiny precise script in real ink on elegant paper
gave me deep pleasure.
As I became a man, I worked on improving my handwriting.
Its sloppiness infuriated me.
It was too revelatory.
I stopped writing letters on pilfered bank deposit slips.
I sprung for better pens.
I adjusted my thinking to maximize the purity of my hand.
The better my handwriting got, the straighter I stood.
I filled a thousand avid notebooks. I took a mistress.
My handwriting became my immaculate paramour.
But recently I’ve noticed I can no longer hold a pen with brash
panache. My journals have become slapdash
embarrassments. I open them to random
ugliness. I don’t have the solace of the integrity of the handwritten
alphabet. Sterile emails in obvious fonts assail me.
I don’t fall in love anymore.
I wish my hands could still carve the cuneiform of beauty
on the waxy emptiness of thought, but all that’s left me.
What is left me? The precise boredom of processing processed keys.
©Bill Yarrow is the author of Blasphemer (Lit Fest Press 2015), Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX 2012) and four chapbooks. His poems have appeared in many print and online magazines including Poetry International, RHINO, Contrary, DIAGRAM, FRiGG, THRUSH, Gargoyle, and PANK. He is a Professor of English at Joliet Junior College where he teaches creative writing, Shakespeare, and film.
“The Deterioration of My Handwriting” was published in Angelic Dynamo as well as in the collection Pointed Sentences from BlazeVOX Books.